Northeast Trailer Build

traveler57

Observer
pods8,
yes I looked at those units too and they are also very good. for me, it just ended up that this supplier had 45, 65 & 75 amp units in stock, and nothing smaller. So, I fully agree, that I may not "need" 45amps of DC but I think I will see some (speed) benefit when I am recharging via 120VAC. And, I am going to start out with one deep cycle for now, and see what I get out of it. but then if I go to 2 batteries, the 45amps will be nice to have.

The WFCO 8735 and 8740 have 6 AC (1 main & 5 branch) and 6 DC ( 1 battery and 5 DC branches). mine has only 3 AC (1 main and 2 branch) and 12 DC branches. So, I guess I just leaned toward having more DC. and yes, with so many of the DC circuits, I can splurge and put a lot of things onto their own circuit, (like the fridge, the halogen floods, etc.)

Both have "smart" chargers so this was a key for me.

this PD4045 unit was US$144 plus $20 shipping

And, this is a fully new project for me so I am learning as I go. thanks for any and all comments.
 

traveler57

Observer
new pics

I was finally able to drag the trailer out of the garage. It was 65 in Boston yesterday...... the 6 ft snow drift in front of my garage door is finally gone!!!!

PS- All the plastic ties you see in these pictures are just holding the wiring loam in place temporarily until I finish with the wiring itself.

So this weekend I will connect all the DC wire runs back to the distribution panel.
 

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pods8

Explorer
I personally don't have a need for the extra AC branches and would prefer the extra DC on a camper as well. That's a good price, who was your source there if you don't mind posting? The reason I posted the WFCO units up for others reference was I was only seeing that PD unit at $180+ so I was just listing up a potential cost saver based on folks needs. For the same price I'd definitely give the PD another look.
 

traveler57

Observer
Frank Bear Teardrops

Do a google for "Frank Bear RV" he has an eBay store front and his own Website under Vintek.

Also, he was willing to talk to me on the phone about my project and give me some inputs and ideas. He was a really nice guy and great to do business with. Also got my LED dome lights from him.


Another site I bought from is Keith's RV Surplus. Again an eBay store front. A lot of small useful goodies here too. Water tanks, hatches, etc.
 

traveler57

Observer
wiring

Here are the latest pictures for the wiring.

The power cord hatch and vent went it very quickly. I added the vent, only because I kept seeing that people 1) warned about the charger getting to hot, and 2) because I want to keep this box vented due to the batteries being in the same box. I will also put in tubing vents for the battery boxes too, just be on the safe side. (Yes, my first two batteries are wet cell, just to save money versus AGM)

Yes, I am one type A person, if you look closely you will note all the labels on every wire. Of all the previous trailers that I have ever owned, the wiring has always been the biggest headache when you get one loose wire or one short.

With so many DC fused circuits on my panel, I will have a separate circuit for almost everything. I will use switches on some, just so I can turn everything off from the front box, and not have to check each and every light, etc.
 

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pods8

Explorer
Do a google for "Frank Bear RV" he has an eBay store front and his own Website under Vintek.

Also, he was willing to talk to me on the phone about my project and give me some inputs and ideas. He was a really nice guy and great to do business with. Also got my LED dome lights from him.


Another site I bought from is Keith's RV Surplus. Again an eBay store front. A lot of small useful goodies here too. Water tanks, hatches, etc.
Thanks for the links, I found a couple better priced items with these guys and will likely utilize them for some stuff, likely including that PD unit since its right on par price wise through them.
 

traveler57

Observer
Sorry, but no progress this week.

But I did want to say that I have just decided to go to Overland Expo next week. And I will say that I am psyc'd. :jump:

Just need to decide weather to bring 1 or 2 credit cards, my checkbook or my kid's college funds.......

Just did a search and didn't really find anyone talking about it. but the Expo website tells all about it. If anyone is going, PM me. It is always great to meet people in person.

So I plan to come back with hundreds of new ideas and probably a few accessories for the trailer.
 

traveler57

Observer
Overland Expo

Well, I have been on the road for two weeks, so nothing new on the trailer build.

But..... I did get to go to the Overland Expo last weekend and I just have to say it was great. So I think it deserves at least one post here.

First, I will say that I learned a huge amount of info in those 3 days. Some things just confirmed what I was already thinking (which was great) and other things were things that I have never thought of. I am speaking about info in terms of building a trailer (and outfitting it.)

The vendors there were great. I think just about every major vendor was there. And even though they were "selling" they all were extremely professional and everyone of them took the time to discuss their products in full detail.

For example, getting to actually touch and go into each of the RTTs was great. Seeing pictures and reading about them just doesn't compare. Now I can see why they can range from $800 to 3200. Same with seeing all the fridge types up close and learning the actual differences. Again from $500 to $1800.

They had demos of equipment (winches, hi-jacks, knives, cooking, etc) which were also excellent. They were run by the vendors, but they all still did a very good job. Then they had panel discussions from people that actually had gone around the world by 4x4 or motorcycle. To hear comments and advice from people that ACTUALLY did this was very impressive.

I also was able to meet a huge number of fellow overlanders. The campground was even more full of great rigs, trailers, gear than the expo. So getting to see other people's toys and talking to them was fantastic.

I will be adding some more things to my build in the coming weeks that either I learned about at the expo or that I bought.


So for anyone thinking about going next year, all I can say is GO!!!!! It was a great 3 days and worth every bit. Ok, back to building next weekend.
 

traveler57

Observer
Finishing the wiring

Well, I got some time this week to do quite a bit on the electrical.

I put in the second deep cycle battery, connected all the wire runs back to the distribution panel. All wires are labeled and all have separate ground wires.

And I even turned on the floods and the dome lights and found that they were exactly what I was hoping for.

Pictures below-
the "distribution box" was built so that I could remove the whole thing from the trailer, if I needed better access to the wiring connections, etc. Also the top and right side come off easily too, so that I would just have an open frame for access to everything.

I have the VSR to isolate the deep cycles from the Jeep's main battery. This is the type that is a two-way voltage switch. When the jeep is running, it charges the trailer's batteries, and when I am connected to a power pole, the trailer charger will keep the Jeep battery charged. Normally, the Jeep battery will not "die" but it is nice to have this option. If I don't want the jeep battery to charge from the trailer, I just have to disconnect the tow harness.

I have a single 12V outlet on the top of the box. it will be mainly used for the volt meter, but it would also be there for other devices needing 12V up front. I will also have triple 12DC outlets in each of the side boxes and the main box.

I did decide to add the master cut-off switch, as it just made sense to have the ability to fully disconnect the batteries if something went FUBAR with anything while out in the woods.

The switch panel will run the front flood lights, and the power/light circuits for the three boxes. For the reverse light I put in a 3-way switch. (top right of the switch panel) The three positions are "connected to tow harness reverse wire" / OFF / "ON- "connected to the trailer batteries". this way my trailer backup light can double as another flood light. The floods are just the $12 Hella work lights for now. Cheap, rugged and they throw plenty of light.

The LED dome lights were great. they came with standard bulbs installed, so I was able to compare the std bulb versus the LED bulb. The LEDs were 12 LED on a circuit board, and they fit right into the same socket. All I can say about the light is Amazing! 3-4 times brighter, with a much wider and uniform arc of light, and at 0.2W instead of 2-3Watts. This should be a no-brainer decision for all builders to use LED dome lights. (the dome fixtures were $16 and the LED bulb-panels were $9 each.)

I also connected up an 120V AC circuit from one of the 15A sub-breakers. This is wired with a GFI outlet inside the front box, and then continues to the power cord inside the main box. GFI is just a good idea for any outdoor AC outlets. The power cord is around 20feet total length and has outlets every 5 feet. The fridge, inside the main box, will be plugged into the AC and the DC power at the same time, since it has an "auto-switching" function. The cord is 10GA wire, so it is plenty heavy. the cost difference for the 10G versus more normal 14/16G was small. And now if I ever need to connect power tools for any work at the camp, I will have it.

I gave up on the idea to have an big DC-to-AC inverter. After doing the math, anything big will just suck done the two batteries way too fast to be worth anything. But when I am connected to shore power, I will know that I will have local AC at the trailer and not have to deal with extension cords or plugging every little thing into the campground power pole. Yes, I will probably later find a small 400-800W (<$100) AC inverter for the "just in case" situations.

Note that I did go through all my electronic "toys" (phone, camera, laptop, GPS, etc.) and they all have DC chargers. So never a reason to use AC chargers for these.

The batteries are protected with a 40A-DC auto-reset type breaker. Just as I did at the Jeep end.

Next step will be to place the order for the sideboxes and the fridge.
 

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